Andy Reid is putting his faith in Steve Spagnuolo.
The Kansas City Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton after the team’s 37-31 overtime loss in the AFC championship game to the New England Patriots. On Thursday, NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo reported the team will hire Spagnuolo to be the team’s new defensive coordinator.
It’s not an overstatement that Reid’s best shot to finally win a Super Bowl might rest on whether Spagnuolo can transform the defense. The offense is perhaps the best in the league. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is going to win NFL MVP next week and the Chiefs have a window to build around him while he’s on his rookie contract, before he signs a massive extension.
If the defense improves, the Chiefs can finally win another Super Bowl. Spagnuolo has some experience building championship defenses.
Steve Spagnuolo has won before
Spagnuolo’s best work has come with the New York Giants. In 2007, his first season as Giants defensive coordinator, his unit was crucial in a massive Super Bowl upset over the previously undefeated Patriots. The next season, the Giants ranked fifth in the NFL in yards and points allowed.
That was also the last time a Spagnuolo defense ranked better than 10th in yards allowed. He had an awful stint as St. Louis Rams head coach from 2009-11, going 10-38. He spent 2012 as the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator, was on the Baltimore Ravens‘ staff in 2013-14, then back to the Giants.
The last time we saw Spagnuolo, he was the interim coach for the Giants for four games at the end of the 2017 season after Ben McAdoo was fired. Now he gets a chance in a hugely important role for a championship contender.
Chiefs defense slipped in 2018
The Chiefs aren’t without talent on defense. Players like defensive lineman Chris Jones and outside linebacker Justin Houston are elite players. Yet, the Chiefs finished 31st in yards allowed and 24th in points allowed last season. Sutton did a good job early with the Chiefs (he was Reid’s only defensive coordinator in K.C. before he was fired), but the past couple seasons the defense slipped.
We’ll see if a new coordinator gets better results. The Chiefs should have some flexibility to add to the defense, given that Mahomes isn’t making a fortune yet. Reid is counting on Spagnuolo to be the missing piece to a championship run.
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